Buell, Susan


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Personal profile


Susan has worked in a number of posts both in the UK and in Latin America. These have capitalised on clinical and research expertise related to speech, language and communication, particularly with children and adults with neuro-developmental disabilities. After spending seven years in Bolivia working in clinical and research roles, she held a lecturer post at Manchester Metropolitan University before taking up a job at the University of East Anglia. Here she completed her PhD and led as Course Director on the speech and language therapy programme. In 2019, Susan joined the School of Health Sciences at Dundee University where she continues to carry out research related to communication and health with marginalised populations. 


Susan’s main focus in research lies in building capacity for improved health and well-being through optimising language and communication with children and adults with neuro-developmental disabilities (intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, autistic spectrum conditions, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Deafness and hearing impairment). 

Her work incorporates relevant areas related to health literacy and health communication, alternative and augmentative communication (AAC), working with families of children with profound and multiple intellectual disabilities, living with disabilities in developing countries, evaluation of services for people with communication disabilities (Latin America and UK) and other marginalised groups.

Susan uses both quantitative and qualitative approaches, and mixed methods involving experimental designs alongside linguistic analysis and linguistic discourse analysis. She has experience of implementing observational studies, surveys, focus groups and interviews with people who have communication disabilities. She has also run participatory action research in developing country contexts.

Current projects include:

National Institute of Health Research (NIHR): No research about us, without us! Removing research barriers for people with learning disabilities:

PI Dr Amy Russell, University of Leeds in partnership with East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation, Cardiff University, National Development Team for Inclusion, Learning Disability England, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, University College London, Glasgow University

 April 2023 – April 2025: £139,668.64


NIHR: Digital Health Participation of People with Intellectual Disabilities: A Longitudinal Modelling and Digital Diary Study,  

PI Dr Darren Chadwick, Liverpool John Moore’s University, Co-Investigators: Professor Peter Langdon, Warwick University and colleagues from Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Kent, Gloucester University, Dudley Voices for Choice, Advocating Together Dundee, East Kent MENCAP and Manchester People First. 

May 2023- Sept 2026: £908,189


Economic and Social Research Council: Intersectional Perspectives for Community Inclusion: Understanding the Past, Shaping the Future with Older Marginalised People with IDD And LGBT+People (Joint with University of Wolverhampton, University of Hertfordshire and University of Edinburgh), Sixsmith, J., Buell, S., Fang, M., Levy, S.& Smith, M.

Sept 2022 – Dec 2025: £1,725,930


Scottish Graduate School of Social Science: My Baby, My Choice: Experiences Of Mothers With Intellectual Disabilities And Their Infant Feeding Choices. McFadden, A. & Buell, S.,

Supervisor led stream, PhD funding: £93,412.00


Institute for Social Sciences Research (ISSR): Reading for Fun Project, Interdisciplinary Incubator Grant Funding, (PI Buell, S., Co-Investigators: Beckenbridge, J., Jindal-Snape, D., Nabizadeh, G.)

January 2020 – January 2021: £3000.00


Susan currently teaches on research methods modules and is leading the integration and implementation of aspects of communication in health and intellectual disability across the nursing programmes.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy

External positions

External Examiner, Trinity College Dublin

1 Sept 201931 Aug 2023

External Examiner, Queen Margaret University

1 Sept 201731 Aug 2021


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